How Thinking about What’s Good and Right Led Me to Equal Exchange and Just Food Hub

We grew up in America. We equated goodness with corporate excesses and government policies. But that’s not the only way to think about it. We need a new paradigm that considers what’s good for humanity rather than what’s good for us in corporate America.

We learned that money is the most important value. One poster says “Environmental justice is our cry of defiance against the onslaught of oppressive toxins and toxic oppressions that threaten to submerge our homes.” Hmm. So we fight against climate change and work to make the world more sustainable: solar, electric cars, drive slower, zero-carbon lives; save species that are in danger: Save Rainforests, Save Bees,  Save Whales, Save Wolves, Save Polar Bears.

We learned that national borders are to be protected. One poster says “Our calling is not to cross boundaries, defy restrictions or escape compartments. It is to embrace a universe that does not admit their existence.” Hmm. So we fight for the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers. We advocate that everyone should be wherever they want to be.

We learned that we are individuals, unique, and can make or break our livelihoods by ourselves. One poster says, “A living wage helps everybody.” Hmm. Empower humans who are impacted by corporate greed and commensurate environmental disasters; empower farmers, organic regenerative agriculture, end child and slave labor, pay living wages; support labor unions.

We learned that children are lesser citizens. One poster says, “If we are to reach real peace in this world we shall have to begin with the children.” Hmm. Educate children to reason creatively. Pay parents to stay with their small children to foster a sense of children’s security. Give children the lead in their education. Give them tools to find creative ways to address the issues they may face with climate change. Teach peace.

 We learned that injustice is a unique event. One poster says, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Hmm. So we fight against injustice: racial, ethnic, ageist, religious, sexual, ability.

 We learned that our type of person is the most important. One poster says, “In our community, our strength is diversity.” Hmm. So we help refugees settle in our area, we support Black Lives Matter, we stand with the young members of our community as they explore their gender expression. 

We learned to cut corners, to justify transgressions, to yell or undervalue those with whom we disagree. One poster says, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” Hmm. We come to a place where good is measured against what is good for humanity; for people, for all people. 

How does that get me to Equal Exchange and Just Food Hub? 

Equal Exchange is a democratic worker cooperative that buoys worker cooperative farmers across the globe. We learned that Equal Exchange has integrity, values diversity, encourages organic regenerative agriculture, empowers farmers and their communities, advocates for justice. 

So we started Just Food Hub. Our goal was to fight racism, support small farms, promote organic and regenerative foods, combat climate change, and encourage workers coops. We found that we could sell Equal Exchange ethically grown organic foods to Americans while raising money for local organizations that need fundraisers. So, win-win-win-win-win-win.